Part Four - The Ground

How to Become The Chief Executive

How to become Chief Executive - Part Four

The ground is "Part Four" of "How to Become the Chief Executive" series of articles. In this part, we will discuss "the Ground" element of your strategic position.

The ground is where you compete with others for reaching such a position as chief executive of a company.

The "trick" in choosing the ground to compete for such a job is to "reverse" the analysis of your strategic position by looking at weaknesses in your opponent "five" elements that define his/her position.

The Mastery here is to match your strongest element against your opponent weakest one, thus becoming ready for the challenge.

Please let me explain.

The five strategic elements in any position are The Mission, The Leadership, The Ground, The Climate, and The Methods. If for example your analysis shows that the "Leadership" element of your opponent is a weakness and your Leadership elements as explained, in part three is one of your strongest elements, then you have found a fertile "ground" for launching your bid.

The same can be done for the other elements.

What Ground would you take on your opponent?

Let us take an example from the last American election between Kerry and Bush.

When the time for building new relationships is due, Kerry could have won. This is the Climate. The changes that happens in time.

For example, during the presidential election in 2004, the Iraq war was an important issue. Kerry chose to attack Bush relentlessly on all aspects of the war and its conduct. Despite the fact that neither Bush nor the war was very popular, the result of using an attack instead of positioning was a clear Kerry loss.

Also the ground for this attack; The MISSION, was not matching any strength in Kerry's mission.

What would a winning "ground" for Kerry looks like? It must be the "Climate" or the change that is occurring in people's mind about moving from War to diplomacy.

How would Kerry go about this?

Kerry needed to get close to the president first. Whether he believed it or not, Kerry should have started by saying that Bush was right to go to war against terrorism after 9/11.

Kerry should have then amazed people by saying that Bush "Mission" was right for fighting the ground wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Instead of disparaging those wars, Kerry should have praised them as difficult but necessary decisions "at the time", flawed but executed as well as humanly possible.

After getting close to the president "strength", Kerry could have moved the challenge in a very different ground.

He could have said that Bush's success in "the ground" wars had changed the nature of the war on terror. The new battleground against terror would be the media and international diplomacy.

Kerry could then have credibly said that Bush was not the right candidate for executing the new phase of the war, that Kerry had the communications skills necessary "The method" to make America's case against terror with the media and other nations.

How could Bush get around this strategic position? Could he have said that the war was not necessarily over, that wars may have to be fought against Syria or Iran? This may have been true, but certainly, this is not the type of truth that wins elections.

Could Bush have claimed that the he is the better candidate for the new communication and diplomatic war? This would have been an impossible position for Bush to take at the time against Kerry. In other words, he would have lost the election.

This is a rich example to show how we compete without fighting, by simply choosing the weakest ground and match it against our strongest one.

Start now by studying the "strategic Position" of your opponent and score yourself against him/her position. Find your opponent (rationally and logically) weakest element and match it against your strong one.

You now begin to know the place or the ground of your challenge.

Final wisdom from Sun Tzu on this Occasion:

    "They attack when the opponent is unprepared and appear where they least expected."

In Part five we will talk about "The Climate" as the source of all opportunities and what is strategy is all about in reality.

How to become the Chief Executive!

How to Become the Chief Executive - Part One - The System

How to Become the Chief Executive - Part two - The Mission

How to Become the Chief Executive - Part Three - The Leadership

How to Become the Chief Executive - Part Four - The Ground

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